In the news

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(Steamed vegetables.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Have you seen the latest in weight loss news?  Here, go have a look:  Study finds calories count more.

Well, duh!

Imagine getting funding ($$) to come to a conclusion that most of us came to a long time ago via the method of common sense.  Calories in, calories out.  If you take in more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight.  Logic, reason, and yes, common sense, should tell you that if you burn more than you take in, you’ll lose weight.

Genius.

I wonder how much money the folks from Harvard and Pennington got to conduct the study.

All snarkiness aside, I realize this puts to rest the “my diet is better than your diet” arguments.  Bring on your Atkins, your Weight Watchers, your South Beach, and your Cabbage Soup diets.  It doesn’t matter as long as more calories are going out than going in.  But don’t starve yourself because that will slow down your metabolism.

I was going through some old (paper) files the other day and came across the U.S. Women’s Ski Team Diet from back in the 70’s.  The claim is that you will lose 20 lbs. in 2 weeks.  I don’t recall losing 20 lbs. in 2 weeks, but do remember giving it a try.  I found it online for those who don’t remember it or wish to see it.  It’s here, but you’ll have to scroll down a little to  read it.

I spent a lot of time dieting my way to weight gain when I was a perfectly respectable and healthy weight.  The U.S. Women’s Ski Team Diet was probably part of that effort.  Thankfully I’m a little more sensible these days.  But I still get drawn in, at least for a look, when someone announces the newest, bestest, guaranteed to work, lose weight quickly, diet.  Although I know there is no magic diet or magic bullet, part of me still holds out hope that the next big diet will be The One.

In the meantime, I’ll keep eating healthy foods, exercising, and making sure that the calories consumed are less than the calories burned.  It’s not magic, it’s not faddish, it’s not terribly exciting, but it works.


Paczki

(Chocolate covered, custard-filled paczki.   Photo © 2009 by Robin)

Yesterday was Paczki Day, also known as Fat Tuesday.  If you celebrated by eating a paczki, you know one of the reasons why it’s called Fat Tuesday.

M and I look forward to this one day of the year when we can pig out on paczki.  Paczki are a lot like donuts only better (and, no doubt, unhealthier due to all the fat).  I’ve noticed (and I could be wrong about this) that paczki show up in our local grocery stores sometime around the Thursday before Ash Wednesday.

(Raspberry filled paczki.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

For those that don’t know, paczki are Polish donuts.  The traditional reason behind making paczki was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs, and fruit in the house before Lent.

I’m not a religious person, but I’m going to steal the idea of giving something up for Lent this year.  I’ve decided to give up potato chips.  For some reason I can’t figure out, I’ve been on a potato chip kick.  Normally I do not eat potato chips all that often.  Lately they’ve become almost a standard part of my diet.  It’ll do me good to give them up for a while, especially since I’m working so hard to make some big lifestyle changes.

Twenty-five days ago I signed up at MapMyFitness for two 30-day challenges:

  • Go 100 miles in 30 Days
  • Quit Drinking Alcohol for 30 Days

Since beginning these challenges, I have walked 80.12 miles and burned 8,930 calories.  I’m also sleeping and feeling better without the alcohol.

With all the studies that have come out regarding alcohol, it’s hard to know which way to go.  Today’s big news story is that even moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to cancers in women.  It wasn’t all that long ago that red wine was being touted as heart healthy.  So, what’s a girl to do?

I don’t know.  I do know that I’ve been working hard to improve my health, and one thing I can do to help is to take a vacation from alcohol.  I don’t need the extra calories, that’s for sure, especially if I want to indulge in things like paczki every now and then.

(For those who want more info on alcohol and heart health, the American Heart Association has some guidelines here.  But even they aren’t sure so I guess it’s a matter of balancing things out to fit your lifestyle, your health, and your history.)

We’re having warm and sunny weather here in the Bogs today.   By warm I mean the high today is going to be around 46°F.  I’m going out for a walk in a little while.  The snow is melting quickly this morning.  It’s going to be a muddy walk.


Restless

(The grass is greener.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

I want to take a long stroll on a sunny, tropical beach.  Or swim and float in a warm sea, drifting in the saltiness.

I want to climb a small mountain (something like Everest would be too much for me) and exalt in the feeling of being close to the sun and the sky.

I want to walk through a redwood forest, feeling small next to giants, inhaling the warm, woody almost lemony scent of the trees.

I want to hike to a waterfall and listen to the sound of the water as it rushes over the rocks.

Or just… go someplace new.  And warm.  Or at least not freezing cold.

It’s February and I’ve got a major case of cabin fever.  I should bundle up, get outside, and take a walk around the pond or the neighborhood or something.

But it’s so cold out there.

See what I mean?  Ice.  Snow.  Cold.


Cold

That would be me.  Freezing cold.  I suspect that means I’m getting old.  There was a time when I was almost never, ever cold.  I’ve spent most of my life as the one who wants the heat turned down, thank you very much.

See what turning 50 does for a person?  Makes ’em cold.  Heh.

It’s possible, I suppose, that I’m turning into a normal person rather than just an old person.  After all, it IS freezing cold outside today and I do keep the heat turned way down during the day.

Here’s a glimpse at today’s weather:

The noise you hear is the wind.  And the lens cap rattling around.

In other news…

Bella caught her first mouse (that I know of) on Monday night.  M and I were in the living room when she came walking down the hallway, tossing something around.  I thought it was one of her toys.  It turned out to be a mouse, a very dead mouse that was once alive and wandering around in our home.

I’m not sure where she found the mouse.  I had last seen her heading into our bedroom, but it’s possible she was carrying the mouse with her when she went in.  I wasn’t paying close attention.

Another mouse got into the garage last night just as we came home from a shopping/dinner trip.  The headlights of the car caught it as it was running in.  Bella did her best to get it, but no luck.  I’m not sure if the mouse managed to get out while we weren’t looking.  I’m pretty sure it didn’t manage to get further into the house.  Bella would have had it by now.

(Bella, shortly after she killed her first mouse, looking all proud.)

Dress Update

Not much to say about that.  I haven’t found anything yet.  I’m currently shrinking so it might be a good thing that I haven’t found a dress yet.  All the exercise and healthy eating finally caught up with me and resulted in the loss of 9 lbs.  I also lost 4 inches from my waist and 4 inches from my hips.

I’d probably be looking as proud as Bella if I had a picture of me to post.  Without, you know, killing a mouse.

😉


What’s new in the Bogs?

Well, not much, really.

We had a big warm-up (into the 50’s) yesterday.  The snowmelt was fast and furious, water pouring off the roof of the house.  This morning we found that some of the melted snow had made its way into the basement.  I have to admit it wasn’t totally unexpected (by me, at least).  I wondered (to myself) last night if we’d find water on the floor of the basement this morning given how fast the snow had disappeared.  When the ground is saturated the water has to go somewhere and that somewhere is sometimes our basement.

Thankfully most of it ended up in the bathroom and laundry room, as usual.  I’ll use this opportunity to thoroughly clean both rooms over the next day or so.  Right now it’s a matter of letting things dry a bit and taking care of the laundry that I’d spread out on the floor when I separated it the other day, preparing to to wash it.

Looks like M will be renting a bulldozer sometime this spring or summer.  The front yard needs graded (or regraded, as the case may be) to stop future flooding.  We’ve been aware of this project in the making, but have put it off in favor of other projects since flooding was a rare event.  But there comes a time when enough is enough.  I suppose this is that time.

Foxchild over at The Unveiling of a Pagan Spirit passed along a link that I’d like to now pass along:  Courage Campaign.  I’m not sure how something like this works (or doesn’t work) in terms of petitioning the Supreme Court (showing how little I know about how our law system works), but I do think the video is worth watching.  Food for thought, and all that.

An update on my 1100 in 2009 goal —

  • Total mileage so far:  116.425 miles

I signed up for a 100 miles in 30 days challenge.  My start date was February 2nd.  I’ve completed 27% of the mileage for the challenge.

And that, folks, is about it from the Bogs for today.


Early start

I accidentally got a head start on my spring cleaning today.  Perhaps it was the sunshine streaming in through the windows, highlighting every speck of dirt, dust, and grime in the house.  Perhaps it was the start of a new month and a fresh start on another project.  Perhaps I was just in the mood.

It started innocently enough.  I was going to clean the upstairs bathroom (pictured above without great light but remarkably clear for the lack of lighting and lack of tripod usage).  Just a surface clean, mind you.  Nothing major.  The next thing I know, I’m cleaning out drawers, decluttering the closet, taking down the shower curtain, scrubbing corners and crevices with a toothbrush, and experimenting with Iron Out to see if it really will remove the rust stains caused by the iron in our well water.

(Izzy, helping with the cleaning.)

Whatever the motivation behind it, I have now declared it Early Spring Clean Season in my household.  I hope I can keep the motivation and momentum going.  The house really does need a thorough scrub down.


Sunny day

(Pile of snow)

It’s a sunny day here in the Bogs.  Warm, too.  I went out for a little walk this morning and was delighted and surprised by the warm, moist, southerly breeze.  I thought for sure it must be at least in the 40’s, maybe near 50.  As it turns out, it was 31°F.  It’s 41° now.  Heatwave!!!

I think the general consensus is that we had somewhere between 22 and 40 inches of snow.  Depends on who you ask and where you go.  I think we have close to 30 inches out there, at least in spots.

(Today’s view of the pond.)

I climbed over the big pile of snow you see in the first photo to get a shot of the pond (because I’m sure you all are missing those almost daily shots of the pond).  Another few more inches of snow and it’ll be difficult to see where the pond is located.  It’ll all just blend together in a big sheet of white.

(Buried holly bush.)

I had originally planned a walk around the property, or at least around the pond.  However, trudging through that much snow is one heck of a workout, even more so for someone that’s been sick almost all week.  I’ve been down and out with a cold.  Sore throat, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, the whole mess.  It seems to be peaking today.  Lots of sneezing going on.  Hopefully it will be nothing but improvement from here on out.

I caught the cold at the mall last weekend.  I went in search of a dress to wear to M the Younger’s wedding.  It’s a good thing I have until June to find one because my first outing didn’t result in success.  The only thing I brought home from the mall were the cold germs.  Bleh.

M and I watched Dogma (Special Edition) last night.  It’s a movie from 1999 starring Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  They looked so young I thought it was older than 1999.  Then again, that’s a decade ago, isn’t it?  Strange how fast time goes by.

Anyway, back to the movie.  It’s an irreverant look at religion and the whole good vs. evil thing.  I enjoyed it and thought it was funny for the most part but, like a lot of comedies, doesn’t seem to know how and when to end.  That’s not to say it dragged.  It’s just an observation on comedies.  They tend to start out well and then just sort of… well… fade out.  I’m not sure why that is.  Perhaps the joke(s) get old after a while.

At any rate, I’d highly recommend it in spite of what I just said.  It was good entertainment.  Unless, of course, you’re easily offended by satire concerning religion.  If that’s the case, don’t bother.

Also through Netflix we’ve been watching The Tudors – The Complete First Season.  We’ll be starting disc 3 this week.  Most of the reviews I’ve read describe it as inaccurate, but dazzingly beautiful.  That sums it up quite well.  I enjoy this kind of period piece and think the costumes and settings are great.  Whether or not they’re accurate, I have no idea.  I’m in it purely for the entertainment value.